NHL Hall of Famer and New York Islanders great Mike Bossy died on Friday at the age of 65, but his memory carries on, especially for Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.
Ovechkin spoke with Mike Vogel following an optional skate for the Capitals at Bell Centre in Montreal to reflect on the life and legacy of Bossy, a four-time Stanley Cup champion and pure goal scorer who set a number of NHL records
“I met him a couple times. He was always smile, he would always have a good mood,” Ovechkin said. “It’s a sad day for whole world. He was a legend. Obviously, he was a great person and how I said he’s the greatest, very good goal scorer. And it’s sad news. I wish all the best to his family and how I said, it’s sad for whole hockey world.”
Bossy spent his entire decade-long career on the Island, leading the franchise as their all-time leading goal-scorer with 573 tallies. He played his entire 10-year career with the team finishing as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 573 goals. Bossy is the only player to score 50-plus goals in nine consecutive seasons. He also had five 60-plus goal campaigns, a feat that only he and Wayne Gretzky have accomplished.
Bossy helped lead New York to four Stanley Cup championships. The three-time Lady Byng winner NHL career spanned just 10 years due to health issues. In 1992, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Bossy also landed on the NHL’s 100 all-time greatest players list in 2017. He continued working in hockey after his on-ice career and was an analyst for TVA Sports before stepping away in October after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
“The National Hockey League mourns the passing of Bossy, the dynamic winger whose goal-scoring prowess during a remarkable 10-year career ranks, by almost any measure, as one of the greatest in NHL history,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said of the Islanders legend in a statement, adding, “Though containing him was the obsession of opposing coaches and checking him the focus of opposing players, Bossy’s brilliance was unstoppable, and his production relentless throughout his entire career.”
Ovechkin explained how Bossy was able to set himself apart during his time in the league and felt fortunate to know, watch and meet a player like No. 22 while finding his identity and place among the NHL’s all-time leading scorers.
“It’s crazy stats, crazy numbers. I was lucky to get 60 one time. How I said, those guys can score. Those guys love play hockey,” Ovechkin said. “It was a pleasure to watch how they played on the videotapes and I was lucky to meet him when he was alive. He was always smiling, how I said, and always good mood.”
“It will be pretty cool moment to be in the company. Obviously, how I said, to be with Bossy and Gretzky in the same company, it will be nice. But how I said if it happens, it will be great. If not I’m going to try to do it next year.”